BEAVERCREEK — Greene County Children Services and Michael’s House Child Advocacy Center awarded child advocates and young artists at the Blue Ribbon Breakfast April 25.
The Child Advocate of the Year Award in the “Law Enforcement” category went to Ohio State Patrol Trooper Thomas J. Schoenfeld for recognizing signs of human trafficking.
“It was likely that this child would have been missing for a significant amount of time if this trooper did not go the extra mile and privately talked to the child to see what was really going on,” a case worker wrote, nominating Schoenfeld for the award. “He was able to .. identify a possible suspect and save a child from being a victim before they were able to leave the county.”
Amy Ferguson, family service coordinator for Michael’s House, received the Child Advocate of the Year Award in the “Community” category for her critical work conducting forensic interviews and linking children to important services.
“One hundred years down the road, it won’t matter what’s in our bank account, what kind of car we drive, what kind of house we have, but that we made a difference in the life of a child. Everyone in this room does that on a daily basis,” Ferguson said.
The Child Advocate of the Year Award in the “Children Services” category was awarded to Gregg Yoxtheimer, a caseworker who specializes in foster care.
“For all the kids that I’ve worked with over the years, this is for you,” Yoxtheimer said. “For our front-line responders, this is for you. For all our foster parents who graciously and selflessly take our kids in our community to your homes, this is for you. Everybody I work with everyday, this is for you. And all our network and service providers, this is for you.”
The grand prize winner of the art contest was Esther Augustine, a 5th-grade student at Legacy Christian Academy in Xenia. Augustine received a $100 prize and her artwork will be featured on the cover of the 2019 Children Services calendar.
“I did not think I was going to win,” Augustine said, explaining that she came up with the idea and then worked on the project during art class.
Four students received $50 prizes for their artwork: Diana Smith and Madison Ruble from Bell Creek Intermediate in Bellbrook; Elizabeth Van Auken from Fairborn Intermediate; and Brooklyn Cordray from Legacy Christian Academy.
Eight students received $25 prizes for their artwork: Faith Steward, Ellie Schulte, and Claire Wonders from Cedarville Elementary; Kaylee Ervin and Caroline Hamilton from Legacy Christian Academy; Katelyn Welsh from Fairborn Intermediate; Bella Spencer from Shawnee Elementary in Xenia; and Makayli Marinelli from Cox Elementary in Xenia.
Dustin Patterson gave the keynote address at the breakfast, sharing his story of addiction and recovery. Now, Patterson works at TCN Behavioral Health as a recovery house case manager.
“[I spent] all my life in foster care and after that my heart told me I wanted to work with troubled youth who grew up just like me and addicts just like me and [help them] get back to the community which is what I do now at the Christopher House. It’s like a dream come true,” Patterson said.
Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498 or follow @annadbolton on Facebook.